A major hurricane is hitting the Hawaiian Islands, with sustained winds of 150 MPH and gusts to 200 MPH. Phones, the electrical grid, and fixed antennas are down island-wide. See http://hawaiiares.info for details.
9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Amateurs Radio operators in local communities will set up spoke and hub communication groups and report messages to/from participating agencies and groups. Field stations will need to make up realistic message traffic that fits the given scenerio and pass the traffic to hubs, comply with the instructions of net control stations, and follow best practices. Served agencies will include:
Hawaii County Civil Defence – ACS
Requests for Assistance
Requests for Information
Hub Stations will relay Emergency Alert Announcements from the EOC to field operators.
2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Simulated health and welfare message traffic will be passed through the Oahu Superstation KH6YY via Winlink. These messages will be relayed to an RMS station on the mainland and sent to any Winlink or regular internet email address.See http://hawaiiares.info for more details.
The following information and ideas have came out of the meetings and conversations so far:
In any real emergency/disaster, everyone is expected to use 911 first. This is the most effective interface to police/fire/ems. If you have a home phone that is “POTS” (Plain old telephone system) that can work when modern services fail. Review the criteria for 911. See https://www.hawaiipolice.com/dispatch-911
When phones do not work, amateur radio operators in the field pass information to hub stations, and hub stations pass traffic to ACS or other served groups via voice, Winlink, or whatever works. By the time the information gets to the EOC, both the hub station and ACS will have made efforts to present it in a way that best fits the needs of the EOC.
The purpose of reviewing the forms at HawaiiCert.org is for everyone to learn what information the ACS is expecting, and in what order. They are looking for the STANDARDIZATION of responses. By Looking at each form on the Hawaiicert.org website and clicking the down arrow next to each field under each form, you can see the terminology and types of standard responses they need. For example, the person in need of help is called the “requesting party” and the amateur radio operator is called the “reporting party” They also request telephone number and email addresses because even though these systems may be down now, they could quickly come up on line. We need to adapt to the situation at hand. When doing an RFA for urgent medical help, the email address may not be important. A phone number might be, but what if phone lines are hopelessly destroyed? In that case the Radio operator’s call sign is most important. We may want to include both the hub and field stations call in in our reporting.
The Hub station operator working VHF is the person who needs to be most familiar with the needs of the served groups. They may need to do a Q&A with inexperienced operators in the field, to get all the important information. Remember this is all about getting the needed information accurately, in the correct order, and in a standardized way. It is NOT about the form itself. See the information under “Resources, References” at the Hawaiicert.org website.
The information published on Hawaiicert.org is not just for CERT, it tells us what information the HC CDA and the EOC are looking for, and it applies to everyone.
For Winlink use, we can pick a few preexisting Winlink forms that track best with the needs of the served agency or group. (RFA, RFI, SITREP, etc.) Winlink forms are routinely being updated. We need to experiment to determine how well Winlink forms will help us quickly get the correct information relayed to the correct party.
Discussion with the served agencies and groups are on-going. More information will be published as it developes. If you know someone at an agency or organization that may need emergency communications assistance during a disaster, please reach out and discuss with them how ham radio operators can help. Feel free to pass along my email address so we can begin a conversation.